Approximately 20 Minnesota National Guard soldiers were deployed to the City of Henderson on Friday to assist Sibley County with flood response efforts. The troops were ordered to the flood-drenched community by Governor Dayton, and will watch over critical flood mitigation infrastructure sites while there. Officials report two homes destroyed in Henderson and three at risk, with five families staying in local hotels. Both Highway 19 and Highway 93 from Henderson to Highway 169 are closed due to flooding. Many other roads around the area are still closed also after several days of torrential downpours caused flooding throughout the state. Highway 19 near Gaylord is closed as well, along with Brown County Road 13 south of New Ulm. The Beussman Bridge in New Ulm is closed also. To get updated road closure information click HERE or contact your local officials.
The flooding of the past few days is interfering with the weekend plans of some Minnesotans with the DNR closing 2 now-flooded state parks. Blue Mounds State Park and Fraz Jevne State Park are completely closed, and many trails and roads within other parks may be inaccessible due to flooding. The DNR’s Pat Arndt is urging all park visitors to be careful. Locally, the campgrounds, horse camp and trails at Fort Ridgely State Park have been closed due to flooding, but the golf course, chalet and historic site remain open. For information on other parks affected by the flooding check the DNR website. A total of 6 Renville County parks have been closed due to flooding as well.
State leaders continue to tour flooded areas of Minnesota to assess damage caused by this week’s heavy rains. 2nd District Congressman John Kline was visiting Blakely and Belle Plaine in Scott County and Northfield in Rice County today (SAT) to discuss flood relief planning with city and county leaders and emergency management coordinators. On Sunday, Senator Amy Klobuchar is scheduled to be in Mankato to talk with local officials about the flood damage to roughly one thousand homes there.
Minnesota officials say the magnitude and widespread geographic nature of flooding make a federal disaster request a near certainty. Damage assessments have begun but other surveying must wait until waters from downpours in the past week subside. Minnesota created a $3-million contingency fund this year to match any federal aid for disasters but that could be exhausted quickly. Governor Dayton said Friday that he isn’t ruling out the need for a special session if more funds are required. After heavy rains over several days, crops are flooded, roads have been washed out, dams have failed and water has infiltrated homes from the far north to the far south of Minnesota.